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Italian Red Lights Rigged With Short Yellow Light 353

Posted by timothy
from the decent-pellet-gun-might-help dept.
suraj.sun writes with an excerpt from Ars Technica which brings to mind the importance of auditable code for hardware used in law enforcement: "It's no secret that red light cameras are often used to generate more ticket revenue for the cities that implement them, but a scam has been uncovered in Italy that has led to one arrest and 108 investigations over traffic systems being rigged to stop sooner for the sole purpose of ticketing more motorists."
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Italian Red Lights Rigged With Short Yellow Light

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  • News Flash! (Score:2, Funny)

    by snowraver1 (1052510)
    This just in: Water is wet!
    • Re:News Flash! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lysergic.acid (845423) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @10:54PM (#26748003) Homepage

      um, are you implying that this isn't news because all traffic signals are rigged with short yellow lights?

      assuming that this is a common practice, the fact that those responsible for rigging the traffic lights are being prosecuted is still newsworthy. it's not everyday that 63 municipal police, 39 municipal government officials, and 7 government contractors are accused of conspiracy and corruption.

      if nothing, this case has brought international media attention to a potentially widespread problem--and not just with rigged lights but all traffic camera systems. if journalists don't report on such stories, then the issue would probably be ignored rather than bringing traffic cameras under public scrutiny.

      and if you know that your hometown has rigged traffic cameras, then maybe you should report the problem to the proper authorities or file a lawsuit against the city. acting as if government corruption should just be accepted (or ignored) is precisely the kind of public complacency that allows corrupt officials to remain in power.

      • by larry bagina (561269) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:13PM (#26748147) Journal

        it's not everyday that 63 municipal police, 39 municipal government officials, and 7 government contractors are accused of conspiracy and corruption.

        I guess you've never heard of Chicago.

        • Re:News Flash! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by lysergic.acid (845423) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:40PM (#26748311) Homepage

          ok, you got me there. =P

          actually, i stayed in Melrose Park, a western suburb of Chicago, one summer with a tattoo artist friend of mine. it was a predominantly Italian town that, as i understand, was run by (or at the very least had close ties to) the mob. needless to say, the local police were a bit corrupt. the cops also didn't seem to mind that we were smoking pot or doing lines of coke in front of them since my friend and his family were well known in the community.

          coincidentally, a few weeks before i left their entire police department was raided by SWAT teams and the FBI. apparently the police chief had been busted for--supposedly--embezzling over a hundred million dollars (how he did that as a police chief of a small suburb i have no clue). but still, that did make the news and wasn't something that happened everyday.

        • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Friday February 06, 2009 @12:57AM (#26748667)

          As somebody who has lived in a suburb just a bit south of Chicago his entire life, I can say this is entirely false.

          ...we usually don't bother to accuse anybody of their wrongdoing.

        • by Z34107 (925136) on Friday February 06, 2009 @01:12AM (#26748731)

          I guess you've never heard of Chicago.

          I heard Chicago was founded when a bunch of New Yorkers got together and said, "Gee, I'm really loving all of the crime and the traffic, but it's just not cold enough."

        • Re:News Flash! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by orzetto (545509) on Friday February 06, 2009 @02:26AM (#26749057)

          We are talking about Italy, where the more corrupt you are, the more likely you are to end up in the national government. As an Italian, however, I am positive that no politician will be held accountable for this: our legal system effectively prevents corruption from being prosecuted.

          How is that? Well, corruption is still a crime, and politicians have not yet managed to make investigations discretionary—any report on illegal activities still must be investigated, no matter the opinion of the prosecutors; this is a good thing because the politicians cannot tell prosecutors what to do. However, at the same time, Italy is unique in that we have a system with three degrees of appeal that are almost always granted, and statutory terms that continue running during the trial.

          So, what do criminal politicians do? They remove all the funding they can from the judiciary. Italy's judiciary system is in a condition in which they actually lack paper and toner for printers, not to mention judiciary police being short on petrol. Add in a lot of legislation designed to slow down trials on crimes likely to be committed by politicians, note that complete trials may take a decade while statutory terms are much shorter, and and you can be sure that no person with enough money in their pockets to pay for lawyers will ever land in jail, unless they did something particularly heavy and/or lost support among their caste.

          Our prime minister has used this trick a few times already, some of which after having changed the law in order to shorten statutory terms.

      • by dryeo (100693)

        Sounds like a conspiracy theory to me. And haven't we been taught that all conspiracy theories are products of paranoid minds.
        So obviously these cops, government officials and contractors are innocent because conspiracies only happen in paranoid minds

        /sarcasm

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The problem is that there are red light cameras at all. This is so ridiculously common that you would think people would grasp the problems governments have with corruption. But they'll point to the bad apples and blame them rather than blaming the system which made this so easy in the first place.

        We already know people are corrupt. (Hence GP's comment that water is wet.) We can't fix the corruption so we have to limit its effectiveness.

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @09:51PM (#26747549) Homepage Journal

    the lights near me which were changed to camera enforced had their yellow reduced the minimum allowed by the law.

    The formula for this is pretty swift, http://safety.transportation.org/htmlguides/sgn_int/App02.htm [transportation.org]

    It is very common to see people lock down when it goes yellow so approaching either of the two I go through does require extra caution. The fortunate application is that they did concentrate on those crossings with the most amount of accidents from people running red lights. They have not applied them to intersections for leaving or entering an interstate where the rule seems to be five cars on red.

    • by amRadioHed (463061) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @09:59PM (#26747637)

      Too bad that them reducing the yellow will probably make the intersection more dangerous.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05, 2009 @10:34PM (#26747849)

        It does.

        This isn't news. Some cities in the US have been doing this for a while now, where the yellow light ends up going from 4 seconds to 2 seconds. I've seen seen one camera intersection have -no- yellow light. This means, you have to look at the walk/don't walk sign and stop at the light (while the light is green) if the don't walk part is flashing.

        Most red light cameras are outsourced to private companies which get a cut of the red light violation revenue, so its pretty much matter of course to try to shorten the yellow light as much as possible.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05, 2009 @10:44PM (#26747919)

          Some cities? I'd say it's more than that. There's a lot of places that cheap out on giving adequate yellow time.

          But I have seen some other areas do a thing which I thought was odd at first, but makes sense. That is they have a one to two second 4 way red between swapping the roads that are given the green. It's helpful for clearing an intersection where there's a lot of left turn traffic.

          It would also be nice if minimum yellow time could be put into federal law. That way people would have some kind of recourse for places that aren't currently playing fair. (In some areas, the red-light cams are being used like the old fashoined and sneakily located speed traps. Out of towners get caught by yellows that are way way too short.)

          • by stephanruby (542433) on Friday February 06, 2009 @03:11AM (#26749243)

            It would also be nice if minimum yellow time could be put into federal law.

            More laws won't work. There is already a Federal law on the books which says that the anticipated revenue from moving/parking violations can not be included as part of a local government's standard operating budget. And do you think that this law is being followed, hell no! This revenue stream is now an integral part of those budgets, in fact they'll even increase the ticket amounts whenever there is a budget shortfall.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by esocid (946821)
        Too true. Or everyone could drive like the crazies do here in Miami. Ignore any color light and just drive. Seriously, this city has the worst problem with running red lights, and moving here from VA I've noticed it's mainly because of the light cycles, and timing. Not even 1s between light changes in the intersection, and the amber light is drastically reduced compared to what I've seen anywhere in VA, including the DC area.
        There aren't even any red light cameras and cops don't give a shit. So who knows wh
      • by DrYak (748999) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @10:41PM (#26747897) Homepage

        reducing the yellow will probably make the intersection more dangerous.

        From a theoretical point of view, it shouldn't make the intersection more dangerous, it should just increase the ticket revenue.

        According to traffic laws across lots of countries, a yellow light doesn't "push the accelerator and try to make it through as fast as possible".
        A yellow light means, "try stopping if you can, because the light will turn red soon - if you can't stop, only then you should cross" - with a yellow light you're supposed to stop anyway (just like with a red one) if you still have enough braking distance to stop.

        If a driver sees a yellow light from far away, no matter how short the duration of this light, still has enough time and braking distance to come to a stop before crossing.

        If a driver sees a yellow light really near, right before crossing, that means that the drivers hasn't the necessary braking distance to stop before crossing. Therefore the driver should be allowed to cross.
        A normal traffic light stays yellow long enough to let the driver reach the other side of the crossing.
        A yellow light shortened way too much means that the driver can't escape the ticket : the light turned yellow too late, at a moment when the car can't be stoped before crossing and is forced to continue. But as the light turns red too fast, the car still hasn't reached the other side of the crossing and can be ticketed by the camera.

        The other traffic light won't turn green simultaneously (there's always some safety margin). Thus no car will come crash sideways against the tricked driver.

        So in theory, there's no additional risk of collision, only the risk that the driver won't be able to make through the crossing before the red light in case the driver couldn't brake in time.

        But, yes, in practice, lots of drivers will probably slam their accelerator even harder, and this increase in speed will probably bring more accidents.

        • by amRadioHed (463061) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:08PM (#26748095)

          What's true in theory is entirely irrelevant when in reality shorter yellows have been found to be more dangerous.

          But they're also more profitable, so I guess that's a win for the state.

          • In this case I guess it's more dangerous because people are used to having a longer yellow light, so it turns red before they expect it to.

            I wonder whether it would still be more dangerous if they made every yellow light shorter. Would people actually start to stop for them?

            • by nedlohs (1335013) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:34PM (#26748275)

              No it's more dangerous because people over compensate for the yellow they've seen be shorter and the camera they know is there.

              And hence they slam on the brakes when it isn't in fact safe to do so, and the guy behind rear ends them.

              Yes that is entirely the fault of the guy behind following too close (plus assuming the other guy would go through the yellow because he clearly would have to jam on the brakes to stop in time, which isn't what you are supposed to do since it's "too close to stop safely" - which is still the guy behinds fault since he rear ended someone who wasn't driving backwards).

              Short yellows and red light camera's increase the number of rear end collisions at intersections. Of course trading more read end collisions for fewer t-bone collisions is usually a reasonable trade off. Shortening the yellow is clearly just revenue raising, and will increase the number of collisions with I would expect no significant reduction in the number of "ran red light collisions" over just adding the red light camera.

              • by wvmarle (1070040)
                Even worse: that second guy is, even with a bit short distance in between the vehicles, almost certainly far enough from the traffic light to stop safely. So not only should he not have assumed the car in front to go through the yellow expect to do the same, he should have stopped already. And maybe see the car in front of him move on, or not, that becomes irrelevant then.
              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by timmarhy (659436)
                "And hence they slam on the brakes when it isn't in fact safe to do so, and the guy behind rear ends them."

                that's the fault of the guy behind them tail gating. i hate this idea that running up a persons arse is their fault - keep your braking distance while driving and you can stop to avoid anything.

            • I think the increased accident rate has more to do with people getting rear-ended because they break too hard in order to avoid red light cameras.
              Also, is there any part of having a short amber period that makes the crossings more safe, or does it just cut out half a second of green light?

        • by fredmosby (545378)

          If people know there's a red light camera they're more likely to try to stop when it's too late, causing to slam on their breaks, leading to more rear end collisions.

          • causing to slam on their breaks, leading to more rear end collisions.

            In that case, the fault lies on the one tailgating. In case of collision, the tailgater is considered guilty, his/her insurance will have to pay everything and he/she will get monetary malus.

            The tailgater won't necessary get ticketed, but the tailgater will obviously lose money in the procedure.

        • by uncqual (836337) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:45PM (#26748329)

          I think the problem is that people try to stop more quickly than is prudent in fear of getting nailed by the camera and the result is an increase in rear end collisions from tailgaters behind them or skidding out of control into other cars/objects.

          Although, of course, one should not tailgate the car in front of them, they have no control over the car behind them. At times when someone is tailgating me in heavy traffic, I've made a decision to not stop at a yellow light that I could have stopped at. The reason being, I felt that given normal signal timing, if I didn't stop, I would still enter the intersection on the yellow but if I did stop, I would get rear ended. I placed my obligation to avoid an accident higher than the slight risk of a "fast yellow" set to the theoretically shortest possible timing and confident that if a cop happened to be watching, he might nail the guy behind me instead of me (as, the second guy entering on a red is somehow "more guilty" IMHO). If I know there's a red light camera at the intersection, sorry, I assume that the yellow is as short as possible and I stop even if it increases the risk of being rear ended (his insurance company pays for my car repairs, he doesn't pay for the red light ticket). In fact, I had a couple of close calls (guy behind me smoking squealing tires, skidding etc. while I stopped safely behind the limit line without fanfare) at a local intersection that I drive through regularly -- and was annoyed when I read in the paper much later that the cameras had been turned off at that intersection for over a year!

          When someone is tailgating you in heavy traffic, you have few options to stopping that behavior quickly - changing lanes isn't always an option, slowing down may just make the problem worse if you're approaching a signal which may turn yellow suddenly since the distance between yourself and the following car - i.e. the margin of safety - is reduced (because the gap is shorter and you're going slower so actually stop more quickly) if the tailgater doesn't take heed of your speed change before you decide to stop for a yellow.

          Even with all this care, twice I've been rear ended by a tailgater when I stopped quickly - once for a yellow light, another time for another reason. One of these times, three cars behind me ended up hitting each other also. The car behind me was lighter, more fragile, and had a lower bumper than my car (his was a small Fiat I think) so his impact on my bumper just scuffed the underside of my bumper cover but his bumper, grill, lights, and hood were seriously trashed. (After determining I had no damage I cared about, the officer noted that there was only room for three cars on the standard accident report he had to fill out so, unless I needed the report for my uses, he would just leave me off and I could go on my way -- I always wondered how the guy behind me explained to his insurance company how his car had thousands of dollars of damage and the car he hit didn't even exist on the accident report).

          Stopping "as quickly as you can" is just a bad idea unless it's necessary and safe.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by eth1 (94901)

            When someone is tailgating you in heavy traffic, you have few options to stopping that behavior quickly -

            You do have options, though. My rule of thumb is a 4-second following distance between cars. If the guy behind me has less, I slow down to add the difference in front of me. Then I can react more slowly to give the guy time to notice me stopping.

            Also, prefer the center lane. This lets you jockey for a position where you have enough space one or both sides to change lanes instead of slamming on the brakes (won't work for traffic lights, but will work if the guy in front of you stops fast).

        • by The FNP (1177715)

          Ok, but how about we try a real-life scenario. More than one car in a lane. If the driver in front knows that the yellow is shortened, and he covers the brake while approaching the intersection in order to stop if it turns. And it does. And the driver behind him isn't prepared for this, because the light was GREEN.

          I don't know about where you live, but here I know the timing of all the lights I use reguarly. I could see the above situation happening to me one day if they fscked up the current timing sy

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Umm, corrupt Italian police break the law, circumventing safety and endangering lives by deliberately increasing fines for profit. Non-corrupt police notice and fix the problem.

        - This article may not provide the police bashing people are after here folks.

      • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @10:52PM (#26747995)

        There are a number of studies out that show decreasing the yellow light period does in fact increase the number of rear end collisions.

    • by v1 (525388)

      I would think the safer thing to do would be to at least be consistent with yellow light length.

      While red and green lights vary wildly around town, and of course are unpredictable due to traffic-tripped intersections, I take it for granted that all the lights in MY town have the same length for a yellow light.

      or maybe it just "feels" that way because they're timed correctly. Thinking on this I'd be surprised if the lights on the faster roads (45 etc) are as short as on the residential (25) ones. But none

    • by CodeBuster (516420) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:13PM (#26748143)

      It is very common to see people lock down when it goes yellow so approaching either of the two I go through does require extra caution.

      The auto insurance companies have consistently lobbied against red light ticket cameras for precisely this reason. They are invariably set to shorter yellows to maximize ticket revenue which results in more lock downs and rear end collisions as drivers slam on the brakes with little or no warning at the last second to avoid a ticket. Traffic cameras are about getting more revenue for the city operating them NOT traffic safety.

    • by rolfwind (528248) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:20PM (#26748195)

      traffic lights. Whether that means to have a big single-digit countdown clock (for last 10 seconds, usuable for any color light) or simply start blinking at a faster and faster rate last 10 seconds right before it changes (again, any color light).

      It would also help with conserving gas, so from farther away you can adjust your speed by being given info on what that light will be 300ft down the road.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by chiui (1120973)

        I've been in Germany, and they have a flashing green before the yellow, and something else I don't remember (but intuitive) when switching from red to green.
        I can definitively say it saves time, gas and brakes.

    • by AbRASiON (589899) *

      Ever since those have been released in this country (Australia) and very strict laws and fines on speeding it's been more dangerous to drive.
      They changed the speed limit from 60kmh (suburbian sts) to 50kmh (37miles to 32)
      The problem is the threshold for fines here is 3km over the limit or ONE POINT EIGHT fucking miles an hour.

      So if you're doing 104kmh you're elligable for a fine, so people religiously look at their speedo or go under the limit (which in itself causes frustration)
      Furthermore the red / speed

  • by the_other_one (178565) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @09:57PM (#26747615) Homepage
    Hacking Italian traffic lights for financial gain has been thought of before. The Italian Job [imdb.com]
  • whine... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by macshit (157376) <miles AT gnu DOT org> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @10:04PM (#26747665) Homepage

    The headline case may (or may not) be true, but the FA continues on to whine randomly about traffic lights and speed cameras in general.

    I know many people consider a yellow light to mean "floor it", and think running a red light is not a big deal, but please, don't expect a whole lot of sympathy when you get caught doing it.

    Traffic laws by and large exist for good reasons: You're driving around an extremely dangerous machine at high speeds, and rules are necessary to reduce the carnage.

    • Re:whine... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by triffid_98 (899609) * on Thursday February 05, 2009 @10:34PM (#26747851)
      Actually I got one of those camera tickets just last year. I exited the freeway, merged between a large commercial truck and another car, and passed through an intersection (all within around 150 feet of travel). click, click, please deposit $200+points on your license.

      There was no way to see that the truck in front of me was running a yellow light, I couldn't even see the light. The judge disagreed (even after he reviewed the video), case closed, thanks for playing.

      I don't expect anyone's sympathy over it, but I thought I'd share.

      The headline case may (or may not) be true, but the FA continues on to whine randomly about traffic lights and speed cameras in general.

      I know many people consider a yellow light to mean "floor it", and think running a red light is not a big deal, but please, don't expect a whole lot of sympathy when you get caught doing it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Then you were following too close.

      • So you couldn't see the light, but the camera on the light somehow managed to get a picture of your license plate?

    • by Nyeerrmm (940927)
      The problem isn't the red light cameras in general*, but the fact that they are tied to a lowering of the time for yellow lights. What I was taught is that a yellow light indicates "clear the intersection". If that means to brake, you brake; if that means to keep moving or possibly accelerate because you can't brake in time for whatever reason (tailgater, simply not enough space, etc.), you go on through. Obviously for a typical vehicle there will be a certain zone where one or the other is the right cho
    • by Nyeerrmm (940927)

      (Sorry, forgot to set paragraph breaks)

      The problem isn't the red light cameras in general*, but the fact that they are tied to a lowering of the time for yellow lights. What I was taught is that a yellow light indicates "clear the intersection". If that means to brake, you brake; if that means to keep moving or possibly accelerate because you can't brake in time for whatever reason (tailgater, simply not enough space, etc.), you go on through. Obviously for a typical vehicle there will be a certain zone

  • Far away from home (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sigma 7 (266129) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @10:05PM (#26747675)

    At least we know that it doesn't happen in America [motorists.org]. Except in about 6 cities or so.

    • At least we know that it doesn't happen in America [motorists.org]. Except in about 6 cities or so.

      A lot more than six. Manipulating the traffic control system for fun and profit is becoming a very common activity for cash-strapped localities. It's not just lights: speed limits are dicked around with everywhere for the same reason. The NHTSA has pointed out that the politically-motivated abuse of the nations' traffic systems is responsible for some number of deaths and injuries every year.

    • by Kingrames (858416)
      All of them being the ones near my house then.
    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Notice that in America setting the yellow times to bellow the legal requirements causes some headache since they get challenged and have to, shock horror, refund some fines.

      In Italy the police investigate and someone is under arrest while they keep investigating some more.

      Seriously, you know your legal/police system is a joke, when Italy beats you in "rule of law" matters.

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      In my home town of San Diego, a judge shut down the red light camera program after they uncovered that they'd reduced yellow light times to the minimum.

      An extensive survey on the safety of the program showed (contrary to the bullshit put out by the city and police leadership) a net increase in accidents, due to increased rear end collisions.

  • Those Mafia is getting outrageous!!!
  • Law enforcement agencies tweak the rules for profit.

    Yawn, wake when you have something new.

    • That's the kind of attitude that they exploit in order to get away with this kind of behavior. No one cares enough to smack them around for it and it shows all across the government.

  • Anyone know or have a figure on how much a city makes in red lights and how much these camera systems cost? Even without factoring in the fines that result or the increased traffic accidents this causes, is it profitable, or is this an example of bureacracy at it's finest?

    In other words, is this actually a way of getting more money, or is this that the performance bonuses of department A are based entirely off of how much revenue they bring in from tickets without subtracting how much they spent. It just

  • In Italy, it is a criminal act for cities to rig traffic lights with cameras to quick change. In the United States of Avarice, it is business as usual, and no one says boo about it.
    • In EU, generally speaking, the rights of the many outweigh the rights of the few, or in this case, one.
      In the US, as Dick Cheney said, people get to vote every 4 years.
      As Obama has rightly started out, The government should judge itself on same laws as it judges its citizens.
      For instance, a Governer last year crashed his SUV while not wearing a seat belt. Did he get Jail like black man would get? NO! He got a citation.
      To make the cops fear law, you need to judge and convict cops: for violations as small as

  • I live in Kansas City which was playing around with the idea of red light cameras. Of course, when the citizens started an uproar, they said "it's just a study." I know that one of the intersections I went through every day had it's light sequence shorted, to the point that the slightest hesitation or slow reaction required you to get on the brakes pretty hard.
  • THAT will solve the problems of traffic lights of whatever color and duration, not just the shortened yellow ones, plus the cameras, plus the nighttime street lights... ...and pigeons... and neighborhood cats that suck at stealth... et al

    The whole "You'll shoot your eye out" thing is really another metaphor for the *stiff learning curve* pre-teen boys (and girls?) endured proper concerning BB-Gun operations and backstop physics in my neighborhood growing up.
    Every child would learn a lot about accountab
  • I think the crooks running the city of San Diego originated this. They had the redlight cameras shut down in 2001 for doing it. They put them at intersections where there was a high percentage of people that would pay the tickets and not at "Dangerous" intersections. Then they tweaked the timing on the lights and started raking in the dough. Read about it here. [thenewspaper.com]

  • by hack slash (1064002) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:49PM (#26748353)
    So long as individuals & companies that design the camera systems get a percentage of the fines there will always be an incentive for them to rig the system by fair means or foul.

    Ah well, nothing new in the world of business & politics then.
    • by Dhalka226 (559740)
      And there will still be a business incentive to do is if that's what police departments and local governments want to drive up their own revenue. Taking a cut of the tickets away from manufacturers is a good first step, but only a first step to a problem that, short of abolishing the cameras altogether, I don't see a way to solve.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      > So long as individuals & companies that design the camera systems get a percentage of the fines there will always be an incentive for them to rig the system by fair means or foul.

      This is why we need more privatization in the justice system! Private prisons, private collection of fines, private everything!

      The profit motive will keep service excellent and prices low!

      ~

  • then they're not much of a problem to begin with. Sorry, this red-light traffic camera thing, in all countries, is a scam waiting to be abused by corrupt officials. QED Flash 'em the bird.

  • "Arrighetti is a genius whom the whole world envies,"

    What an exquisite and eloquent defense.

    Proud to be Italian.

    • by z0idberg (888892)

      And the line before is even better.

      "Arrighetti's lawyer insisted to the newspaper that he was innocent and that there was no need for the T-Redspeed system to be checked"

      OK if you say so, we wont check it then. On your way genius.

  • Why not do this... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Megatog615 (1019306)

    I had an idea a little while ago that involved adding an LED timer right next to the stoplight that counts down to red when the light turns yellow, to tell people exactly how much time they have before it turns red.

    Why hasn't something like this been added yet?

    • Probably because it might encourage people to try and rush through. There's a pedestrian crossing where I live that has an LED timer just like you described. It gives people a better judgment of if they will make it across without holding up traffic. I think it works well for pedestrians because people are always trying to get across just before the traffic goes again, which isn't as dangerous as a car diving though frantically at the last possible second.

  • In order to make up for revenue shortfalls, localities are having their traffic engineers shorten the cycle times of their lights by a couple of seconds in the hopes of catching more light runners. Also, where a year ago cops would disregard someone doing 'only' 5 or so miles over the speed limit, now they are zealously pulling those people over because they need that ticket revenue.
  • I find it upsetting that we allow a computerized monitoring system to babysit our behavior anyway. As for the fact that it is surely being rigged in multiple places - that is just a sign that authorities have been given too much power over us in the first place. I believe in traffic safety, but I also believe in the freedom of not being monitored constantly.

    I think that we should still be asking the question of whether these cameras should be allowed in the first place. By commenting whether the state,
  • In the USA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GigsVT (208848)

    These people could use your money and support: http://www.motorists.org/ [motorists.org]

  • by Holistic Missile (976980) on Friday February 06, 2009 @01:57AM (#26748937)
    Here in the Chicago suburbs, a red-light camera made the news recently. It is at the entrance to a large and very busy mall. In its first month of operation, over 7000 tickets were mailed out. Many of the tickets were people legally turning right on red. These people shouldn't worry, though. Here in the USA we have the right to face our accuser...oh, never mind.

    In my town, they claim that the camera tickets do not count against the point system on our licenses; I don't know if that is statewide, a local ordinance, or just false. The village officials were saying anything to try and quiet the public outcry when the cameras started appearing about 6 months ago. Funny how the ticket sticks as far as paying a fine, but the rest of the official law doesn't apply. It really is all about the revenue.

    As a person who detests the abuse of the laws like this, it really bothers me. As a driver, it doesn't matter as much to me - I am not one of the yellow-light hotshots. Driving fast on open roads is more my thing.

Dennis Ritchie is twice as bright as Steve Jobs, and only half wrong. -- Jim Gettys

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